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Go West Young Priest!

On January 27, 1861, writing from Rome, Passionist Superior General Father Antonio di Giacomo informed Propaganda Fide—then the office for foreign missions—that Passionist missionaries could not be sent to the part of the United States known as the Washington Territory which was then a part of the Catholic diocese of Nesqually. This admission can be found in Finbar Kenneally, O.F.M. editor. Propaganda Fide Calendar Volume 2 (Washington, D.C.: Academy of Franciscan History, 1968), entry 1778, p. 277. One wonders why Bishop A.M.A. Blanchet of Nesqually made the request in the first place?

Probably it was prompted by former Italian Passionist Father Louis Rossi (1817-1871) who was a missionary from 1856 until 1862. Ordained a Passionist in 1843, in 1853 Rossi was part of the original group sent to start the congregation in Bordeaux, France. Conflicts arose. In 1855 Rossi left the Passionists and went to the United States territory. He died in France in 1871. One can read about his exploits in Louis Rossi, Six Years on the West Coast of America, 1856-1862. Translated, annotated and introduced by W. Victor Wortley. (Fairfield, Washington: Ye Galleon Press, 1983).

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